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Social Entrepreneurship  

Sophie Bacq and Jill R. Kickul

Social entrepreneurship is an ever-growing and ever-changing field. Known as the process of identifying, evaluating, and exploiting opportunities aiming at social value creation by means of commercial, market-based activities and of the use of a wide range of resources, social entrepreneurship combines market elements with a societal purpose. An overview of the evolution of social entrepreneurship as a field of research from its origins in the 1980s to date, and analysis of the themes presented at The Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference over more than a decade, show how the core components of social entrepreneurship remained as the field evolved—social value creation, business model, and social entrepreneurial intentions, with the addition of nuances and complexities over time. These trends demonstrate the importance—and unique opportunities—for social entrepreneurship researchers to pursue further research on scaling, impact measurement, and systems change. Social entrepreneurship bears the promise and potential to revisit, and potentially challenge, the theoretical assumptions made in traditional entrepreneurship and management scholarship, embracing a multiplicity of salient stakeholders, other levels of analysis, or the relevance of community.